preview

The Prison Experiment : Milgram 's Obedience Theory

Decent Essays
Upon review it appears that clearly the reactions of the guards and prisoners in the Stanford prison experiment supported Milgram’s obedience theory. However, there are several key components of the prison experiment that differed from Milgram’s own experiment. For example, the ad itself may have helped create some of the behaviors observed. Milgram’s experiment utilized the same media to accrue participants, but specifically called for participants take part in a memory study; this presentation is relatively innocuous and truly not entirely representative of what Milgram’s intentions were. Because the ad Milgram ran did not reveal its purpose or describe the setting in which it would take place, participants walked into the experiment with an open mind, unsure what to expect. Zimbardo’s experiment, on the other hand, stated specifically it was a prison experiment. By declaring this in their ad, were the experimenters already implanting their subject’s behavior? Psychologists Thomas Carnahan and Sam McFarland asked this question in a 2007 study. To test the ad itself, they recreated the original ad as well as an alternate version that omitted the words “prison life.” They discovered through testing that applicants who applied for the prison study showed significantly higher tendencies toward aggressiveness, narcissism, authoritarianism and social dominance while scoring lower on empathy and altruism. (Konnikova, 1) The study is also wildly popular in its portrayal of the
Get Access